Saturday, February 15, 2014


My baby likes to party late. We are up till midnight most nights, just hanging out, doing what we do. Nurse, burp, nurse, poop, change, nurse, spit, change, nurse, burp, you get the idea. Husband sleeps. S'okay, he has to get up in the morning. No, wait, so do I. Seriously, someone should sleep. Might as well be him. Or me.

Nursing a baby is a pleasant thing. Makes you feel good. Feels like a miracle, that God made my body, not only to nourish this baby for 9 months and give birth to him, but then also to provide what he needs for most of his first year, not just nutrition, but also the ability to fight diseases, to comfort him, to bond with him and keep him close to me and lots of other things.

But nursing a baby off and on for hours on end, all the while getting tireder and tireder (too tired to even use proper grammar, obviously), makes me feel woefully inadequate. To stay awake (I do a better job nursing when I don't drop him) I cruise around on facebook (where, as it turns out, there is no life), work diligently to perfect my spider solitaire skills, and peruse the internet for theories on why a 6 week old would still be awake at 1 a.m.

One word that pops up is a term I refused to label my previous 13 kids with: Colic. My mother in law has told me the stories of my husband as an infant many, many times. Many. It must have been dreadful, because it honestly comes up nearly every time any one of my many children cries for longer than a few minutes. Not to mention that the whole breastfeeding mystery kind of escapes some people.

But I have avoided that word because it seemed like a bit of a cop out. I read an article about crying in babies, and how if you chart the number of hours babies cry on a graph, you get a bell curve, which means it's normal. Some cry more, some cry less, it doesn't really matter what you do. And what you are supposed to do, I'm doing. Nurse them when they want, it's a natural comforting thing. (The scientific terms escape me.)

This, however, this late night party thing, this is excessive. I may eventually describe it as colic, I don't know.

At any rate, I am sleeping a solid 5-6 hours a night. That is just enough to make my body think I'm getting enough rest to drive, but not enough for it to be safe to go through a day without coffee.

Nice thing now, though, is that no one at my house is sleeping enough, thanks to the winter olympics running till 10:30 every night. Not that we are all watching it that late, but we are watching way more tv than normal, and dragging our feet at bedtime, desperately hoping to watch another American who ought to have been able to win a medal do slightly less than they were capable of at an event that we know absolutely nothing about, using terms like "twizzles" and acting like we have some genuine interest. Heck, we live in America and we don't honestly even watch basketball, football or baseball the vast majority of the time. Superbowl, World Series, Final Four. That's about it. But we can't go to sleep unless we see whether our guy got the bronze risking his life sliding down pipes on a mountain covered with manufactured snow with his feet strapped to a big piece of fiberglass or whatever it's made of. Really?

Ok, he's asleep, so I'm going to see if I get to do that too. The party is over. Maybe.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Why are we wimps?

We went to a great party this afternoon, the 16 of us. It was a great party for a number of reasons. It was great because we were celebrating the adoption of a couple of wonderful boys by a fantastic family. My friends both shared their adoption journey. They were funny, they were vulnerable, they were real. They exhibited, without meaning to, a marriage that survives and thrives through the bumps and joys and disappointments of life. It was also great because of the truly amazing collection of people there. It was a wonderfully mixed bag of skin colors and family builders. Many large families, many adoptees, several big vans parked outside.

It was also mayhem. There were lots of people there and lots and lots of kids. And, while many of them were kids we brought with us and brought home afterwards, a whole lot more of them were other people's children. And keeping track of your own flock in the midst of a much larger herd is, well, challenging. We left early, and cancelled our plans to go to a worship night at our church. We were trashed. We are wimps.

My in-laws have a notion (delusions of grandeur) that they would like to take us, all - of - us, to Disney next fall. I am having panic attacks about this plan. It sounds absolutely exhausting. The idea of keeping this many people together and cared for and fed and clothed on foreign turf (aka Florida) for multiple days, not to mention getting there and back, well, just, dang. When did we become wimps?

I used to be brave. I used to take 5 kids under 6 to the zoo by myself, 8 months pregnant, in 6 feet of snow, uphill both ways, and I was grateful. Now I'm afraid to stay home alone with the youngest 4. What happened to me?

Am I getting old? I am. I know because I have to stop after every paragraph and go back and delete the extra spaces I put between sentences because I learned to type on an obsolete piece of machinery called a typewriter. I don't feel old, but the mirror tells me I better deal with that reality or start coloring my hair.

But I don't think it is an age thing. I think I am just settling in, maybe? I just want to be home with my people, listening to them fight, I mean, spending time with them, kissing the babies, talking with the bigs, hugging whoever will let me. I want to catch precious moments with my husband, in the off chance he looks up from his electronic device of the moment. I don't want to go places and be vulnerable, be on display, be weighed and measured and be found wanting.

But that's not really it either. I think I'm just not doing a very good job training my children's characters right now, and I don't particularly want to take the show on the road. It is too big for me. The way they talk and think, who they will become, who they are now, their relationships with God and the degree to which it impacts (or doesn't) their lives daily - these things are out of my control. I feel woefully inadequate to deal with them, and staying home is easier.

Maybe I've got some leftover hormones in me (ya think?), certainly I am low on sleep (because I have a newborn, of course), and I am way less connected to the Lover of my soul and His magic Book than I like to be. But it is also, well, overwhelming.

I am overwhelmed. My husband is overwhelmed. We are overwhelmed and overwhelming. If we stay home, perhaps no one will notice. But if we go out, somebody's bound to figure out the emperor's got no clothes. Especially because we stick out. Like a sore thumb. More like an erupting volcano. And people ask questions. And I typically answer questions. Honestly. No, better to stay home and keep our unimpressive non-Von-Trapp like qualities just between the 16 of us. And the dog. And the hamster.